There has been a bizarre development in an already bizarre case surrounding looted Native American artifacts. The AP reported yesterday that Ted Gardiner, a 52 year-old former grocery store CEO and artifacts dealer, has committed suicide. Gardiner was working as an informant for two years in a government investigation into illegally excavated and traded Native American artifacts. Last June, the authorities announced that 26 people from Utah, Colorado and New Mexico were charged in the case.
Gardiner's self-inflicted death marks the third suicide associated with this case. Two defendants took their own lives following their arrests. The AP reports that Gardiner was involved in a divorce and was experiencing money and alcohol problems. In addition, he was reportedly upset by the two earlier suicides and battling with the FBI with "over his compensation and his demand for security from threats he perceived" because of his role in the sting. [AP]